ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched Sehat Sahulat Programme for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) which would facilitate 1.2 million people of the liberated territory. Addressing a ceremony in Islamabad on Friday, Premier Imran said that it was his dream to provide universal health coverage to entire Pakistan since he came into politics.

He said that when a poor person gets sick, his family has to borrow loans in order to get proper treatment. “Even middle-class families become poor [during their treatment],” he added. PM Imran said that 1.2 million families of AJK would benefit from the health care programme and they can get treatment anywhere in Pakistan.

“We started this programme in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Many people said it is impossible but now every resident of the province is getting universal health treatment,” he said, adding that in Punjab, six million people are benefiting from the programme. The premier said that even many rich countries do not have such a programme even though their per capita income is much higher than Pakistan. “I got this [Sehat Sahulat Programme] idea from Riyasat-e-Madina as it was the world’s first welfare state. People say that first you should get rich then offer such benefits to masses but the opposite happened in Riyasat-e-Madina which is my inspiration,” he added. He praised the welfare system of Scandinavian countries which are the most prosperous region in the world. “When Allah sees justice in any society, He gives his blessings,” he further said.

Sehat Sahulat Programme is one of the leading social health protection programmes of the government designed to provide a path to reach universal health coverage in Pakistan. The programme is providing free of charge financial health protection to poor and marginalised families to access quality indoor healthcare services from empanelled healthcare facilities or hospitals.

Under Sehat Sahulat Programme, each enrolled family is provided with Sehat Card through which a family can access services for high-cost diseases like heart surgeries, cancer, dialysis, neuro-surgical procedures, deliveries, C sections and all medical and surgical procedures for which admission is required. Currently, the Sehat Sahulat Programme is in the process of implementation in more than 90 districts of Pakistan, providing free of charge healthcare services to more than 90 million enrolled families.

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